The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) vowed to utilize the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 in addressing the aftermath of the twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu left at least 15 people, including seven soldiers and a police officer, dead and 77 others wounded.
AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay stressed that the military will also strictly implement Presidential Proclamation 55 to declare national emergency, which mandates the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to carry out measures to prevent lawless violence and its spreading to other parts of the country. The said proclamation is still currently in effect after it was declared by President Rodrigo Duterte after the Davao City bombing in 2016.
Gapay said that the declaration of martial law in Sulu is still an option, although Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has completely rejected it.
The controversial ATA has been a topic of concern among ordinary Filipinos over its questionable provisions that allow authorities to tag common citizens as suspects of terrorism and could possibly be used to violate human rights.